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April 11, 2003 - Image 39

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-04-11

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Moies Chetim joins Yad Ezra in distributing festive Passover parcels for those in need.

Clockwise from top left:

Allison Kurtz, 18, and Bridget
Lebiedz, 18, both of Bloomfield
Hills, organize bags.

Levi Smith of West Bloomfield
and his son, Noah, 17, help
clients at Yad Ezra.

Louis Smith, the grandfather of
Levi Smith


Staff Writer


fight before Passover 81 years ago, Louis Smith, a
Jewish produce businessman in Detroit's Eastern
Market, sent his children out in a red wagon
full of food for people, mostly Russian
immigrants, who needed it.
Smith became part of the international organi-
zation, Moies Chetim, that still distributes
Passover food — and many recipients today are
yet a new wave of Russian Jewish immigrants.
Levi Smith of West Bloomfield, Louis'
great-grandson and current president of Moies
Chetim in the Detroit area, continues the
family tradition. But he only learned that
Moies Chetim was alive in Detroit when he
read an article about its work in the Jewish News
in 1987.
"I had always heard about Moies Chetim
through family lore," he said.
But his father's generation didn't carry on the tradi-
tion. Fortunately, Smith said, another Eastern market busi-
nessman, Morris Dorn, and his family did.
On April 6 and 7, the six Detroit-area families that compose
the local Moies Chetim joined Yad Ezra, the only kosher food
pantry in Michigan, at its Berkley warehouse to distribute

Passover packages to 1,100 families in the Detroit area.
During seven hours on Sunday and four hours on Monday,
more than 100 volunteers came together to complete the
Passover food parcels and pass them out to needy families who
came to pick them up.
Volunteers — teenagers and adults, families, syna-
gogue and high school groups — also made
deliveries to 50 families in Detroit,
Hamtramck, Milford, Southfield and Oak
Park unable to get to the warehouse.
Each package provided the basics for
Passover, says Yad Ezra co-director Lea
Luger of West Bloomfield with Elaine
Ryke of Troy. Packages also contain treats
not normally given out the rest of the
year. "We want everyone in the commu-
nity to celebrate the holiday in a festive
manner," Luger said.
The Passover parcels are especially impor-
tant, she added, because many recipients
only connect to Judaism at the holidays.
This year's parcels included matzah, charoses,
grape juice, chicken, tuna fish, coffee, cake mix,
gefilte fish, soup and matzah ball mix, eggs, macaroons, horse-
radish and candy. The Agency for Jewish Education also con-


on page 41



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